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Smithtown Town Dips $7.3M Into Reserves to Fund $103M Budget

Smithtown officials make host of last-minute changes with salary raises, including for the assistant town attorney, traffic safety director and senior planner.

 

The Smithtown Town Board approved a $103 million budget for 2013, taking $7.3 million of rainy day funds to minimize the impact on homeowners' taxes at Tuesday's town board meeting. 

The Town of Smithtown's $103 million budget represents a 2.4 percent yearly spending increase. It will raise property taxes by $46.83 for the average homeowners whose property is assessed at $5,500. 

Superintendent Patrick Vecchio said one of the single largest costs increases in the 2013 budget was the $1.8 million for the town's pension and hospitalization insurance.

On Tuesday, town board members made an extensive list of changes to the supervisor's preliminary expected increases in revenue and minor departmental cutbacks helped keep the overall budget relatively level. 

Under the 2013 budget, assistant town attorney Martin Simon will receive a $10,000 salary increase, receiving about $70,000 per year, approximately one year after his hire date. Other significant salary raises incorporated in the budget include a $10,000 raise for Traffic Safety Director Mitchell Crowley, who has worked 6 years for the town, and a hourly increase for senior planner Peter Hans. 

"I agree with those three raises, but the others were added by town board members," Vecchio said.

The supervisor said Simon was given a raise after gaining a year of training and experience while working as the town's prosecuting attorney. Crowley has worked hard to earn Smithtown between $6 million to $7 million from various governmental agencies for local traffic improvements, according to Vecchio. 

The 2013 budget does not make any cuts to town services or propose any layoffs, unlike the budget approved by the neighboring Town of Islip. 

In order to keep taxes down, Smithtown elected officials agreed to take $7.3 million from the town's $28.5 million in reserve funds. While less than the $9 million taken out of the town's reserves in 2009, this move will use up approximately 25 percent of the "rainy day fund". 

The majority of the tapped reserve funds, $3 million of the $7.3 million, will go towards Smithtown's general fund. Another $1.8 million in reserves will be put towards balancing the residential waste district's expenses. 

"This will not be sustainable unless the economy changes and more revenue starts coming in," Vecchio said. "You have enough to go through 3 - 4 more years. The economy will change and revenue will increase, the question is when." 

One concern Smithtown officials must face in the future is keeping enough of the projected $21.2 reserve funds to maintain the town's AA credit rating with Moody's.

The supervisor said he suspects the town may have a small surplus at the end of 2013 based on the approved budget, but any remainder could be eaten up by the town's tab for Hurricane Sandy cleanup or other unexpected expenses. 

Argile November 25, 2012 at 12:56 AM
A decrease in children's services and 5x increase in property taxes.
EPG November 25, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Yes, your heroin dealer delivers straight to your locker ;)
ghost of Smithtown November 28, 2012 at 08:52 PM
yes wrong on many levels
ghost of Smithtown November 28, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Especially when those raises go to unqualified appointed no-talent job holders who happen to be friends of the right people.
Reform Smithtown December 01, 2012 at 09:15 PM
What no one understands is that its all about the Smithtown Planning Department and not Mr. Vecchio. Frank Derubeis, Smithtown’s planning director, calls the shots...he is the highest paid town employee, making even more than Mr. Vecchio. He decides what is allowed to be built in Smithtown and what you as the taxpayer can do with YOUR property. The sad part of it is that he doesnt even live in Smithtown. I think all employees of the town should live within its borders. We need new leadership in town hall...someone who won't put up with Frank Derubeis. Vecchio and Derubeis are the problem and they need to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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